Cooking is certainly a wonderful skill to have, but it is also a hobby that many individuals really enjoy. Maintaining an atmospheric kitchen with well-stocked shelves, fresh ingredients and delightful smells can put anyone into a positive frame of mind. It can, however, prove difficult sometimes to locate the dishes and methods that work best for you. The following paragraphs contain a handful of insights that you can use to whip up a memorable meal.
Herbs and spices should be stored in an area of your kitchen that is cool and dark. Humidity, light and heat can cause your spices and herbs to lose their flavor. It is normally the rule that spices that are ground lose their flavor after they keep for around a year. Spices that are raw, or whole, can keep the original flavor for as long as five years, though it usually falls somewhere between three and five. As long as they are stored properly, they will hold onto their flavor for several years.
If you are learning to cook for yourself or your family, pick up a cookbook from your bookstore or library. Look for one that has basic, easy recipes that will be fun to cook. Pick a few simple, interesting recipes and work up to more elaborate dishes as your skills increase.
You should bake crusts for a longer period of time than you think. The crust should have a nice golden color to be fully cooked. The deep caramel color demonstrates that the sugar has melded with the other ingredients, giving you an optimal flavor.
As with many other things in life, one of the keys to making great meals for your family is preparation. Save yourself time and trouble by having all your ingredients ready. The day before the big event, get everything ready to go. Make sure you have all the utensils and cookware you will need. With a good plan and everything in place, you will feel far less anxious.
It is extremely important to prepare your ingredients before you begin cooking your meal for a group. Make sure that you have all of the ingredients available. Plan your meal a day in advance to make sure you have everything you need. Having everything ready will take some of the stress off and increase the chances of your success.
Slice meat thinly on the bias for stir-fry dishes. This can be a bit difficult, and it takes some time to do it right. Once the meat is firm, not frozen, cut across the grain at a 45-degree angle.
Have you ever needed to throw away moldy fruit and felt guilty about it? Have you ever thought to just remove the moldy section by cutting it out? Unfortunately, there’s no safe way to save a piece of fruit that is partially rotting. Mold grows inward to places that you can’t even see and can make you sick so throw moldy fruit in the garbage.
Keep spices tucked away in cool, dry and dark areas. Storing them out exposes them to light, excessive heat and humidity, which can reduce their shelf life. Always keep your spices in a dark and cool location to extend their longevity. Meals prepared with fresher spices are simply more delicious.
Apples tend to be a big ingredient during fall and winter, but they tend to spoil quickly if not stored properly. Apples will be ruined if they are stored in a warm place, make sure you store them in the fridge or in a cool place. However, if even one apple becomes rotten, it will quickly spoil all apples in the same bag.
Long cooking processes, like boiling, can “zap” nutrients from foods, like vegetables. You can keep all those healthy nutrients by using a quick method of cooking like steaming or by eating the vegetables raw.
When cooking vegetables, cook them as quickly as possible to keep their nutritional value. Though slow cooking is popular in some cultures, the process actually eliminates important nutrients and renders the vegetables tasteless. Speed cooking vegetables also retains the best texture and nutrition. Cooking better vegetables is all about cooking them for the least amount of time possible.
Mushrooms will absorb the water like a sponge. So, in order to clean them, wipe off each mushroom with a clean, wet cloth.
Cooking with fresh basil? Gather a small bunch of freshly cut basil and place it in a glass. Make sure the stems are saturated with water. Keep it on the kitchen counter and it should stay fresh. Change the water regularly and roots will grow. All you need to do is keep the roots of the basil trimmed regularly and you will have fresh basil ready for use for quite some time.
While garlic is a great addition to many dishes, it has the frustrating feature of rubbing off on your hands. However, rub your hands inside a stainless steel basin when you have finished working with any strong-odor ingredient. This trick removes the offending scent from your hands, which prevents them from migrating to the foods you touch next.
By completing some food preparation ahead of time you can simplify your cooking process. Look through your recipes and determine whether or not certain steps can be completed beforehand. Much of the preparation can be done the day before it is needed. In this manner, even complicated recipes become simple and easy meals.
Garlic is one of those delicious ingredient that has a drawback; its flavor gets onto your hands. To remove the lingering odor after working with these ingredients, thoroughly rub your hands on something made from stainless steel, such as the inside of your sink or the handle of a butter knife. The steel will clean your hands and remove the smell. You can buy stainless steel “soaps” at your local kitchen store to keep on hand.
You should think big when preparing chicken stock. If you make a large amount of stock you can freeze it for future use. A rich chicken stock makes a savory base for soups, stews and other dishes. Allow the stock to cool before freezing it in durable, Ziploc bags.
It is not always easy to remember the proper grilling times for all meats. Use a meat thermometer to tell when it is cooked properly. Try using a grilling lid to reduce the cooking time on thicker cuts of meat.
By doing this, you can have fresh fruit all year! This process also gives you easy access to seasonal fruits at times when they would not normally be available.
If you choose the wooden versions of cooking skewers, it is a good idea to immerse them in water, and leave them there for about half an hour before using them. This can cut down on the chances of the wood becoming burnt and singed during the cooking process. Prevent softer food from falling into the coals by using two parallel skewers rather than a single one.
When making food that relies on seasonings, use some every few minutes, versus using it all at the start. In this way you will give your food all the flavoring you can as well as using your ingredients more efficiently.
Instead of adding all the seasoning in one rapid burst at the beginning, add it in increments over time to give it a better flavor. This is a great way to increase the flavor of your foods and make your seasonings last longer.
When you have a big meal to prepare, get a head start by doing the prep work the night before. You can dice, slice and otherwise prepare vegetables in advance. Stir up some sauce prior to your bedtime for a stress-free pasta dish the next evening. Preparing your meal the next night will be a snap, and much more relaxing.
If you have a tight deadline to cook a roast, leave the bone in the piece of meat. The bone will retain the heat and make the meat cook faster from the inside. Once the meat is done, you then just cut the meat off the bone and enjoy.
Clean cooking utensils are an absolute necessity when you start any cooking project. If food is left behind on the utensils after washing, this may spoil what you are planning to cook. Beyond that, dirty utensils allow bacteria to grow which could make you ill.
Do not use any wine when cooking a recipe that you do not think normally tastes good. If you cook with an unfamiliar wine, you run the risk of disliking the taste of the wine and having it ruin your food. It is possible to find wines that are meant to be used in cooking.
There are a few ways to heat tortillas. You can use the oven. Just set the oven temperature for 350 degrees and set the tortillas on the rack directly. Remove them when crisp. You can also place it on your stove top, even directly on the burner if it’s a gas stove. Your tortillas will taste fresher and be warm when you eat them if you use these techniques.
You should consider replacing your spices about twice a year. Spices lose their flavor if kept too long. Share your spices with friends or relatives if you will not use as much as you buy.
Wrapping the turkey together with string is trussing. Trussing helps to keep the legs and wings next to the body so that cooking is done evenly. If you do not do this, the wings or legs will burn easier.
Stay organized in the kitchen to avoid easy mistakes, like overcooking or burning your food. A well-organized cooking area is conducive to great results. If you aren’t organized, you will start to forget what you buy and that will make you spend too much money that could have been spent on something you would have eaten.
When herbs and seasonings are prominent in a dish, use fresh ones if possible. For more complex recipes, it is fine to use a variety of dried herbs such as basil, rosemary or oregano. On the other hand, fresher herbs invoke more vibrant and fresh tastes. Growing your own herbs in an herb garden, is an easy way to add fresh herbs to a meal anytime.
When boiling water to cook pasta, be sure to add a generous sprinkling of salt. Adding salt to the water prior to cooking ensures the pasta is infused with flavor. If you salt the pasta once it is cooked, you will not get as much flavor when you add the seasoning.
Cut down on cooking time by doing your prep work in advance. Many recipes include ingredients that can be prepared a few days in advance. There are many occasions where longer prep times actually lend a more flavorful touch to your meal. Once you get used to prepping in advance, you will probably never go back to doing it on the fly.
Prepare everything you need to cook your food in advance. This will aid in avoiding cooking disasters that can arise from being unprepared, including flare-ups from overheated oil or choosing the wrong temperatures for your needs.
Brine is an easy, handy method of cooking. You can draw out the delicious flavors of poultry by soaking the meat in brine for an hour before cooking it.
Get your grill ready to go before you start to barbecue. It’s a good idea to prepare the grill about half an hour before you’re going to use it. Your coals should be kept at a medium heat range and covered with a layer of ash. This is the optimal temperature for grilling.
Add some zing to your stews, soups, and mashed potatoes by using stock instead of water. Another option is to place bouillon cubes into the water. Each of these suggestions provides the proper amount of moisture for your food while still giving it a bit of extra flavor.
Spices and herbs should be kept in a dark place that is cool and dry. Humidity or heat can ruin your herbs and spices quickly. These areas are not good because the spices will get exposed to flavor losing elements.
If you want to rid your fridge of leftover vegetables and meats the night before grocery shopping, mix them up in a wok with fried rice. It’s best to use day-old rice that has cooled, but you can make fresh rice if you choose; just remember to cut a bit of water from the rice recipe in order to make the drier rice that works best in meals like this. First, use a small amount of oil to fry the meat and vegetables. Next, add the rice to the mixture and use soy sauce, ginger and garlic according to your taste preferences.
There is not just one kind of potato, and each kind works best in different recipes. For example, some are waxy and wonderful for making potato salad or boiled potatoes but would not work well as french fries or baked potatoes. For that type of side dish, Russets are a good choice of fluffy potato.
As this article has discussed, cooking is revered by many as an excellent and enjoyable hobby. However, some people don’t know where to start, in terms of picking the right recipes or using the proper techniques. Follow this article’s advice and you will be on your way to cooking great food.
Leafy green vegetables are the ultimate in healthy eating, but getting them to the dinner table can be an ordeal. Taking out the tough stems may be tedious. Simplify the task by folding the leaf lengthwise. Then remove the stem from the middle. Cut the stem with a knife. This technique is a simple was to remove the stems from your leafy greens!